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[Friday Sermon] Let’s belief in predestination and support Jagaban for the good of our country!

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers. To proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters! As you are all aware, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmud Yakubu declared Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu the winner at exactly 4:10 a.m on Wednesday, 01/03/2023 in Abuja.

Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu polled a total votes of 8,794,726 to defeat his closest rival and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who scored 6,984,520 votes, and Mr. Peter Obi of Labour party who polled 6,101,533 votes.

The presidential candidate of New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso came a distant fourth with the total votes of 1,496,687 votes.

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu said the registered voters for the election was 93,469,008, while 25,286,616 voters were accredited.

He added that the total valid votes was 24,025,940, while total rejected votes was 939,278.

The chairman said the total number of votes cast was 24,965,218.

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah the Most High says:

“Say, O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty/power/authority, You give sovereignty/power/authority to whom You will and You take sovereignty/power/authority away from whom You will. You honour whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” [Qur’an, 3:26]

Respected brothers and sisters! Living in a time where the majority of Muslims have been enthralled by the worldly life and distanced themselves from the scholars, the correct set of beliefs has become something unknown to the average Muslim. From the set of beliefs that many of the Muslims have strayed in, is the belief in predestination, otherwise known as al-Qada and al-Qadr. So in this sermon the correct beliefs pertaining to al-Qada and al-Qadr will become clear to the reader, by the will of Allah, the Most High.

In order to study any matter properly, one must first be aware of the terminology involved. So in order to properly understand predestination (al-Qada and al-Qadr) one must, firstly, understand what it means. When mentioned separately, both al-Qada and al-Qadr mean the predestination of an action or an event. However if they are combined then al-Qadr means the predestination of an act or event before it occurs and al-Qada refers to act or event after it takes place. Sheikh Salih Uthaimin said:

“The Scholars differed in the difference between them. From them is the one who said: al-Qadr is Allah’s decree in eternity and al-Qada is the ruling of Allah on something when it occurs. If Allah decrees that something specific will occur in its time, then this is al-qadr. If the time for this thing comes then this is al-Qada. This is [found] a lot in the Noble Qur’an. For example, Allah’s statement: “Thus is the case judged.” [Qur’an, 12:41] And His statement: “And Allah judges with truth.” [Qur’an, 40:20] So al-Qadr is the decree of Allah in eternity and al-Qada is when it occurs. Some say the meaning is the same. But the stronger opinion is that there is a difference between them as preceded. If one of the two word is mentioned alone, then it has one meaning and Allah knows best.” [See Majmu al-Fatawa wa-Rasail, vol. 2, page 79]

The scholars of Islam are in ijmah (consensus) that the belief in al-Qada and al-Qadr (Kaddarar Allah) is mandatory upon every Muslim, and he who rejects it has left the fold of Islam. The proofs of this are many in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah Almighty said:

“We have created all things according to a measure.” [Qur’an, 54:49]

And the famous Hadith of Jibril (Gabriel), where he came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and asked him, “What is Iman (faith/belief)?”, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied:

“Iman (faith/belief) is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Day of Judgment and al-Qadr, the good of it and the evil of it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And the Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“No servant of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr its good and evil, and until he realises that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that which missed him was not going to befall him.” [At-Tirmidhi]

And the Hadith of Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, where two men came to him and informed him, “There has appeared before us a people who recite the Qur’an and seek knowledge, and they proclaim that there is no Qadr and verily this affair is scornful,” to which Ibn Umar responded:

“When you meet these people tell them that I am free from them and that they are free from me, for verily by Him in whose hand is the soul of Abdullah Ibn Umar, were they to give Mount Uhud in gold (as charity) it would never be accepted from them until they believe in Qadr.” [Muslim]

The scholars of Islam have derived four main principles pertaining to al-Qada and al-Qadr as follows:

1. That Allah, the Most High, has absolute knowledge of all affairs. Whether it be past, present, or future.

2. That Allah, the Most High, has written all matters that would ever occur in a preserved tablet (al-Lauhul-Mahfuz).

3. That nothing occurs except by the will of Allah, the Most High.

4. That Allah, the Magnificent, created everything.

The above four points will be briefly explained in the following passages, by the will of Allah:

1. That Allah, the Most High, has absolute knowledge of all affairs. Whether it be past, present, or future.

Allah’s knowledge encompasses all affairs. He knew that which was, He knows what is, and He knows what will be. He knows that which we hide in the midst of our souls and He knows that which we publicise to all of mankind. He knows when we were born, how we will live, and where and when we will die. He knows which of us will be in Jannah (Paradise) and which of us will be in the Hell-Fire. He is the all knowing and the all aware. Imam al-Ajurri states in his blessed book ash-Shari’ah:

“He (Allah) created for Jannah (Paradise) its inhabitants and for the hellfire its inhabitants, before he brought them into this world. No one whom Islam has prevailed and overcome and has tasted the sweetness of Iman (Faith) will differ in this. The Qur’an and the Sunnah have indicated this, and we seek refuge in Allah from the one who rejects this … “

Allah Almighty states:

” … Indeed, Allah knows all things.” [Qur’an, 8:75]

” … so that you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that He has encompassed everything in knowledge.” [Qur’an, 65:12]

2. That Allah, the Most High, has written all matters that would ever occur in a preserved tablet (al-Lauhul-Mahfuz).

From the wisdom of Allah is that He wrote everything that would occur before He created the heavens and the earth in a preserved tablet known as al-Lauhul-Mahfuz. As Muslims it is upon us to believe this whether it agrees with our intellect or not, and to not ask why? When? And how?

Allah Almighty says:

“Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and the earth? This is in a Book. This is easy for Allah.” [Qur’an, 22:70]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah wrote what was ordained for creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth and His Throne was on the water.” [Muslim]

3. That nothing occurs except by the will of Allah, the Most High.

From the belief of the Muslim pertaining to al-Qadr is that he believes that nothing occurs except by the Will of Allah. If Allah, the Most High, has permitted it to happen it will take place without a doubt. Whether we like it or not. Allah Almighty says:

“But you cannot will unless Allah wills; Allah is Knowing, Wise.” [Qur’an, 76:30]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said:

“If the whole Ummah (nation) were to unite and try to benefit you in something, they would never benefit you except by that which Allah has written for you. And if the whole Ummah were to unite and try to harm you in something, they would never be able to harm you except that Allah had written it upon you.” [At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad]

Allah’s Will here is of two types, al-Kauni and ash-Shar’i. Al-Kauni is all that Allah wills and hasn’t given man total control over, the likes of the orbiting of the earth around the sun, the appearance of the stars at night, the waves in the ocean, the ability to ride a bicycle, etc.

Ash-Shar’i is all that Allah is pleased with and has ordered mankind with. It is in the hands of mankind to fulfill. Such as praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, not associating partners with Him, being obedient to our parents etc.

4. That Allah, the Magnificent, created everything.

It is upon the Muslim to know and realise that Allah is the Creator of all things, including his (the Muslim’s) actions. Not an atom on this earth nor a planet that orbits the sun exists except that Allah is the one who created it. Allah the Most High says:

“Allah is the Creator of everything; and He is the Guardian over all things.” [Qur’an, 39:62]

And Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Do you worship what you yourselves carve, when Allah has created you and what you make?’ ” [Qur’an, 37:96]

Imam Muslim narrates in the introduction to the first Hadith of his Sahih that the first person to ever speak about (in a deviant manner) Qadr was a man from Al-Basarah by the name of Mu’az al-Juhni. It was from his deviance that the stray sects started to take their methodology in Qadr. Over the passage of time a lot of sects have strayed in their understanding of Qadr, from them are the Mu’tazilah, the Jahmiyyah and some of the Asha’irah, but their deviant understanding goes back to the two main groups of the Qadariyyah and the Jabariyyah.

The Qadarriyah are those people who believe that predestination does not exist, and that we are free to act as we will, and that Allah, the Creator, does not have knowledge of an affair until its occurrence. The Jabariyyah are those people who believe that we have no free will, and that we are forced to do everything.

So the stance of Ahlus-Sunnah pertaining to the understanding our actions and al-Qadr is the middle course between the two sects. We believe that Allah knows everything we do before it happens, and has given us the free will to do as we wish. Whether it be good or bad, and we will be held accountable for that which we used to do. So it is upon us to continue doing good deeds and continue distancing ourselves from sins and evil acts, and not be like those who say that we are compelled to do everything, and that the doing of righteous acts will not make a difference. We seek refuge in Allah from such ignorance. Allah Almighty says:

“Those who ascribe partners [to Allah] will say: ‘If Allah had wished, we would not have ascribed partners to Him, nor would our fathers, nor we have forbidden anything.’ Thus did those who came before them argue falsely, until they tasted of Our wrath. Say: ‘Have you any [certain] knowledge that you can produce before us? You follow nothing but conjecture. You do nothing but guess.” [Qur’an, 6:148]

In another verse Allah Almighty warns those who took Qadr as their reason for falling into shirk (polytheism) when He says:

“Messengers of good news and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah was August, Wise.” [Qur’an, 4:165]

Such that they cannot say that it was Allah’s Will that we committed shirk with Him.

The Messenger of Allah was once sitting with a wooden stick in his hand with which he was scraping the ground. He raised his head and said:

“There is none of you except that his place has been assigned either in the Hell-Fire or in Paradise.”

The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, said:

“O Allah’s Messenger why should we carry on doing good deeds then? Shall we not be dependent (on al-Qadr) and give up actions?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“No, but rather carry on doing good deeds, for every person will find easy (to do) the deeds which will lead him to the place he has been created for.” [Muslim]

And many people have come to understand that if Qadr has already been written for us, and we will receive that which has been prescribed for us then what is the benefit of making Du’a? The answer to this question lies in the understanding of the principle that events will take place if the appropriate steps are taken to make them happen. Thus since we know that Allah is in charge of all affairs and is able to do all things, He is the one we ask when we are in need. He already knew we were going to ask him, but waited till we actually do the act of asking before he answers our Du’a. So in order to achieve that final goal (to get what we asked for in our Du’a) we have to take the step of actually making Du’a.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Nothing increases one’s life-span except good deeds, and nothing repels divine decree except Du’a. And verily, a person may be deprived of sustenance due to a sin that he commits.” [Ibn Majah]

So if one were to ask how does Du’a change decree? We would respond to this with the example of the farmer whose field has gone dry due to the lack of rain (Divine Decree of Allah), so he prays Salatul-Istisqah (a prayer from the Sunnah, which is performed to ask for rain) and thus it rains and his crops cultivate. Thus as a result of his prayer Allah sent down the rain.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, had some wisdom filled words concerning those people who don’t take the appropriate steps to make the desired event happen:

“The logical consequences of such a reasoning leads to a rejection of all efforts. It can, therefore, be said to a person who holds this view, if the satisfaction of your hunger and thirst has already been destined for you, then it will be fulfilled, whether you eat or not. On the other hand, if it has not been destined for you, it will never occur, whether you eat or not. And, if a son has been destined for you, then you will be granted one, whether you have intercourse with your wife or not. On the other hand, if a son has not been destined for you, then you will never be granted one. In this case, there is no point in you getting married … !” [See Jawab al-Kafi]

Allah the Most High tells us in many places through out the Qur’an that man will be tested and tried, and will face tribulations that man thinks he will never be able to over come. On the other hand Allah, the Most High, also puts us in times of ease where we think that there isn’t a problem in the world. So how is the Muslim to react in these scenarios? Allah Almighty says:

“We shall surely test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to those who have fortitude. Who when struck by misfortune, say: ‘We belong to Allah, and surely to Him we shall return.’ ” [Qur’an, 2:155-156]

Allah Almighty also says previous to these two Qur’anic verses:

“O Believers, seek help in patience and in the ritual prayer. Allah is with those that are patient.” [Qur’an, 2:154]

In the above verses Allah Almighty guides us to those actions that should be performed, when faced with trials and tribulations: Firstly, we should be patient. Secondly, we should not get over emotional and forget who created us but rather we should remember that to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. Lastly, we should seek assistance in as-Salah (Prayer), which when referred to linguistically means Du’a, and ask Allah to relieve us of this trial and reward us for our patience. Like our Salaf (Pious Predecessors) would say:

“There is no protection from the Qadr of Allah, except with Allah.”

• Benefits of believing in predestination (al-Qadr):

1. It grants its believer the peace of mind and sense of relaxation to know, that which has befallen him, was never meant to pass him by and that which has passed him was never meant to befall him.

2. It gives its believer the will and determination to do righteous deeds and grants him the knowledge of the fact that nothing can harm him or stop him except that which Allah has willed.

3. Teaches its believer not to be arrogant and vain but rather to be modest and humble because he realises that his actions are created by Allah and that such and such an event occurred, not because he was rich or was given beauty and good lineage but rather because it was the Will of Allah.

4. Teaches its believer to do as much as is in his capability and then leave the rest up to Allah, and then to be satisfied with the result as he did as much as his ability permitted him to do so.

Dear servants of Allah! Also Allah Almighty says:

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2:216]

In this Qur’anic verse, there are several judgments, meanings and benefits for the servant of Allah. If the servant of Allah knows that misfortune can produce a desirable thing, and that the desirable thing can produce a misfortune, he would not feel secure against the harm that can come from delight, and he would not lose hope of delight to come from harm, for he does not know the outcomes of things. Verily, it is Allah Who knows about that which the servant of Allah does not know, and in this context the following issues must be noted:

Nothing is more beneficial for him than abiding by the judgments of Allah, even if it is difficult for him at the beginning, because all its outcomes are good, delightful, and pleasurable. In the same way, nothing is more harmful for him than committing what is forbidden, even if he loves it. All its outcomes are pain, grief, evil and misfortune.

Furthermore, the mind bears little pain in comparison to the great pleasure and abundant good that it will experience, and likewise man is expected to avoid little in exchange for great rewards and preventing great pain and long term evil.

In this way, we can see that the perception of the ignorant does not go beyond the basics of life; his perception does not reach the goals, but the intelligent person always keeps his eye on the goals behind his actions in life.

The intelligent person perceives forbidden things like delicious food, which contain fatal poison. Whenever its pleasure arouses his interest, the reality of the poison would push him away from it. Also, he perceives the orders of Allah as bitter medicine that leads to good health and recovery.

Whenever its bitterness urges him not to take it, the reality of its usefulness leads him to comply. This requires knowledge that is more than the rudiments of the religion in order to understand the essential goals. It also requires strong patience to adjust oneself to it, in order to bear the difficulties that will be encountered for the sake of the goal. So if he loses certainty and patience, it would be difficult to achieve the goal, and on the other hand if his certainty and patience is strong, every difficulty would be rendered easy for him for the sake of permanent good and eternal pleasure.

There are other meanings of this Qur’anic verse. It also requires the servant to leave all his affairs in the Hands of the One Who knows the outcomes of all things (Allah), and to be pleased with whatever He chooses for him.

Also, the meanings of the Qur’anic verse include the fact that he should not propose or choose for his Lord, and should not ask Him for that which he has no knowledge of, for his harm and ruin may be in it and yet he does not know. He should simply ask his Lord to choose good for him and make him pleased with His choice, for that indeed would be the best ending. Also when he leaves all his affairs to his Lord, and is satisfied with His choice for him, Allah will support him by providing him with ability, determination and patience. He, the Almighty would also keep him away from the evil that the servant would have encountered if he had chosen for himself. He would show him some of the positive outcomes of His Choice, which he would not have attained if he had chosen for himself.

Such thinking relieves him of the burdens of trying to choose for himself as Allah frees his heart from estimations and arrangements, which fluctuate in difficulty. And in spite of this, the servant would always be surrounded by what was initially preordained for him. If he is pleased with the Choice of Allah, the preordainment would grant him what is praiseworthy, worthy of thanks and worthy of Allah’s Mercy. Otherwise, the preordainment would incur on him all that is dispraised and unworthy of Allah’s Mercy, because it was his own choice. When he truly leaves his affairs to Allah and truly becomes pleased with that, he would be surrounded by kindness and care in the preordainment, and he would be under the care and kindness of Allah. His Kindness protects him from that which he fears and His Care makes it easy for him to bear that which He preordained.

When the pre-ordainment is implemented upon the servant of Allah, the greatest cause of its implementation would be his trying to avoid it. Therefore, there is nothing more beneficial for him than submission.

Lastly, I urge the President Elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to join hands with the remaining contestants and all Nigerians to work hard in order to make Nigeria great. Let him be a servant leader, as he promised.

I also call on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Peter Obi and Alhaji Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso to team up with the president elect in order to make our country great.

I pray, may Allah Almighty help them all, ameen.

Ya Allah, Who created and brought the heavens and earth into existence, Who does not pass away or depart. He, Who knows all about our conditions and is fully aware of all our movements and period of rest, helps our President Elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu to solve the problems of insecurity bedeviling Nigeria, assist him to rectify the economy of our country, use him to unite the Nigerian citizens and hold his hand to bring an end to all the Nigeria’s problems. Ya Rahman Ya Raheem!

Ya Allah, Who creates, sustains and controls the affairs within the universe. He Who protects and preserves us and controls our affairs, the Sole Creator, Sustainer and Brilliant Planner. We call on You to forgive us, have sympathy for us and give our President Elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu good health, strength, power, energy, wisdom, knowledge and grace to stop and defeat the armed bandits, and the extremists (Boko Haram), a group which destroys, and does not build, corrupts much, and does not rectify, and all the related terror activities from this our beloved and great country, Nigeria. Ya Rabb!

Ya Allah, Use Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his vice Alhaji Kashim Shettimah, and all our other leaders to transform and salvage Nigeria, so that they lead us to all that is good for us and our country. Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum!

Our Lord! Let not their hearts deviate after You have guided them, grant them and us mercy from You, truly, You are the Bestower of Mercy.

Ya Allah, Nigerians are powerless, speechless and helpless, we pray through You to protect us and our leaders from falling into mistakes and guide them Ya Allah, to all that which is good for all of us. Guide them, so that they will work for the unity, peace, progress, development and stability of Nigeria. Guide them also to provide quality and responsible leadership, and to bring Nigeria’s vast resources together to tackle a series of deep-seated, interconnected challenges and put the country on a road to better governance, increased security, and greater prosperity. Ya Ar-hamar Rahimeen Ya Rabbal Alameen!

Ya Allah, Give them the zeal to overcome daunting and threatening challenges; instill in them Your fear, so that they will lead justly and fairly towards the development of our people and country.

Ya Allah! Protect us all and our country, bless this country, forgive and have mercy, and destroy whoever that has a bad intention against our leaders, against us and our great country, Nigeria. Just as you protected us before, we seek for more of such protection, Ya Zal Jalali wal Ikram!

Ya Allah, make our country, Nigeria safe and the other Muslim countries in general, Oh Lord of the universe (jinn and mankind). Ya Allah protect our safety, our Iman and our peace in our native lands and rectify those placed in authority over our affairs (our leaders) and don’t hold us to account for that which the foolish amongst us have done, and protect us from trials the apparent and hidden of it.

Ya Allah, show us the truth for the truth and help us to follow it, and show us the falsehood for falsehood and help us to stay away from it, and make Iman the most beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make disbelief, lewdness and rebellion most hated to us and make us from those who are guided.

Ya Allah, rectify our leaders, Ya Allah guide them to that which is good for themselves and to that which is good for us. Ya Allah make them a means for our safety, and make them a means for our word (unity) to be one, and make them a cause for our coming together, Ya Al-Hayyu (Oh The Ever Living, The One who cannot die), Ya Al-Qayyum (The Self Sustainer), Ya Sami’ (The Hearer) of the supplication. Ya Allah safeguard our country. Ya Allah bring ease to the Nigerians from that which they face from sufferings. Ya Allah give us immediate ease. Ya Allah give us victory with a happy outcome. Ya Allah make ease for the Nigerians from every difficulty and from every suffering, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Reliever from every distress, Oh answerer of the supplication, Oh Helper of the grieving, Oh ever living, Self Sustaining, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Owner of Loftiness and Nobility!

Our Lord! Accept (this prayer) from us. Indeed you are the Hearing, the knowing… Ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Sha’aban 10, 1444 AH (March 03, 2023).

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Opinion

Friday Sermon: The day of Arafah and fasting it if falls on a Saturday, and rulings of cutting nails, hair

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the noblest of Prophets and Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and companions, and those who follow their guidance until the Day of Judgment.

Respected brothers and sisters! Know that in the Islamic calendar, the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah (12th month in the calendar) is called the Day of Arafah. This day is the culminating event of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Because the Day of Arafah, like other Islamic Days, is based on a lunar calendar, rather than the Gregorian solar calendar, and its date changes from year to year.

The Day of Arafah falls on the second day of pilgrimage rituals, which will In Shaa Allah going to be on Saturday, June 15, 2024. At dawn on this day, over two million Muslim pilgrims will make their way from the town of Minah to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafah and the Plain of Arafah, which is located about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from Makkah, the final destination for the pilgrimage. Muslims believe that it was from this site that the ​Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) gave his famous Farewell Sermon in his final year of life, which I read to you in the previous Khutbah.

Dear brothers and sisters! Every Muslim is expected to make the pilgrimage to Makkah once during his or her lifetime; the pilgrimage itself is not considered complete unless the stop at Mount Arafah is also made. Thus, the visit to Mount Arafah is synonymous with the Hajj itself. Completion involves arriving at Mount Arafah before noon and spending the afternoon upon the mountain, remaining until sunset. However, individuals who are physically unable to complete this portion of the pilgrimage are allowed to observe it by fasting, which is not practiced by those making the physical visit to Arafah.

During the afternoon, from about noon until sunset, Muslim pilgrims stand in earnest supplication and devotion, praying for peace and Allah’s abundant forgiveness, and listening to Islamic scholars speak on issues of religious and moral importance. Tears are shed readily as those who gather make repentance and seek Allah’s mercy, recite words of prayer and remembrance and gather together as equals before their Lord. The day closes upon the recitation of the evening prayer of Al-Maghrib.

For many Muslims, the Day of Arafah proves to be the most memorable part of the Hajj pilgrimage, and one that stays with them forever.

For the Muslims around the world who are not participating in the pilgrimage often spend this day in fasting and devotion. Both government offices and private businesses in Islamic nations are generally closed on the Day of Arafah to allow employees to observe it due to it’s importance. The Day of Arafah is, therefore, one of the most important Days in the entire Islamic year. It is said to offer expiation for all sins of the prior year, as well as all sins for the upcoming year.

Dear brothers and sisters! As mentioned earlier, the ninth Day of Dhul-Hijjah is the day of Arafah. It is the day when pilgrims stand on the plain of Arafah to pray. On this day, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting, in preparation for the three days festivity following Eid-ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj, commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness of sacrifice).

Abu Hafsah reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Fasting on the day of Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on Ashurah, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.” [Reported by all except Bukhari and Tirmidhi]

In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah said:

“There are four things which the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) never neglected: Observing fast on the day of Ashurah, Arafah, three days every month, and offering fajr Sunnah prayers early in the morning.” [Muslim]

These statements are proof that fasting on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day before Eid-ul-Adha was a lifelong practice of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as his wife reported.

There are some reports that fasting is prohibited on the day of Arafah. However, it must be understood that this refers to a person performing the Hajj. If a person is on the Hajj, there is no fast for him or her on the day of Arafah. That is undoubtedly a blessing for him because of the hardships of the pilgrimage. In a saying reported by Ummul Fadl, may Allah be pleased with her, she said:

“The Companions doubted whether the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was fasting on Arafah or not. She decided to prove to them that he was not, so she said, ‘I sent to him milk, which he drank while he was delivering the Khutbah (Sermon) on Arafah.” [Bukhari]

Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the Hajj, while they are primarily concerned with their pilgrimage. Above all, the pilgrim would not be fasting anyway because he is travelling.

Some Virtues of Fasting on Arafah Day:

1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allah’s Favour was completed.

In Bukhari and Muslim it was reported from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Amir Al-Mu’minin, there is an Ayah (Qur’anic verse) in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival).” Umar said, “Which Ayah (verse)?” He said: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Al-Ma’idah, 5:3] Umar (RA) said: “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). It was when he was standing in Arafah on a Friday.”

2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Yawm Arafah (the day of Arafah), Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyam al-Tashriq (the three days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking.” [This was narrated by the authors of Al-Sunan]

It was reported that Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) said:

“It – i.e., the Ayah (verse) ‘This day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of Arafah, both of which – praise be to Allah – are Eids for us.”

3. It is a day by which Allah swore an oath.

Allah the Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm Arafah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the verse:

“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of Arafah].” [Al-Buruj, 85:3]

It was reported from Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of Arafah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” [At-Tirmidhi – classed as Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allah swore in the verse:

“And by the even and the odd.” [Al-Fajr, 89:3]

Ibn Abbas said:

“The even is the Day of Al-Adha [i.e., 10th Dhul-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of Arafah [i.e., 9th Dhul-Hijjah] This is also the view of Ikrimah and Al-Dahhak.

4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years.

It was reported from Abu Qatadah (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah. He said:

“It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” [Muslim]

This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of Arafah, because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not fast on this day in Arafah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of Arafah in Arafah (i.e the one making Hajj who is in Arafah).

5. It is the day on which Allah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam.

It was reported that Ibn Abbas (RA) said: the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e., polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah)?’ [Al-A’raf, 7:172-173].” [Ahmad, and classed as Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

Therefore there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.

6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there.

In Sahih Muslim it was narrated from Aisha (RA) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”

It was reported from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of Isha’ on the Day of Arafah, about the people of Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My servants who have come unkempt and dusty.’” [Ahmad, and classed as Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani]

The Ruling of Fasting The Day of Arafah If It Happens To Fall on Saturday:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Busr who said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do not fast on Saturday except that which is an obligation upon you. If anyone of you cannot find anything other than grape stalks or the bark of a tree, let him suck on it.” [At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]

Imam Abu Dawud (rahimahullah) said:

“This Hadith has been abrogated, the Hadith of Juwairiyyah abrograted it.”

Imam At-Tirmidhi said:

“This Hadith is Hasan. The meaning of forbiddance here applies to the man who singles out Saturday with fasting – due to the fact that the Jews revere this day.”

Imam Abu Dawud also said:

“The majority of Scholars hold that it is not forbidden.”

The Hadith of Juwairiyyah:

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to Juwairiyyah (one of his wives) who was fasting on a Friday: “Did you fast yesterday?” She said: “No.” He said: “Are you going to fast tomorrow (i.e. Saturday)?” She said: “No.” So he said: “Then break your fast.” [A Sahih Hadith, Abu Dawud; also Bukhari] – thus proving the permissibility to fast on a Saturday so long as one fasts Friday with it.

Al-Athram (student of Imam Ahmad) said:

“The proof utilised by Abu Abdillah [Ahmad bin Hanbal] in allowing fasting on a Saturday is that all of the Hadiths oppose the Hadith of Ibn Busr (i.e. the Hadith above) – and from them is the Hadith of Umm Salamah (RA) when she was asked: On which days did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) predominantly fast? So she responded: Saturday and Sunday.” [Ahmad]

Umm Salamah (RA) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) used to fast more often on Saturdays and Sundays than on the other days. He would say, “They are the Eids of the polytheists, and I love to act contrary to what they do.” [An-Nasa’i and was rendered authentic by Ibn Khuzaimah, and the wording is his]

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

“I heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying, “None of you should fast on Friday unless he fasts a day before or after it.” [Bukhari]

This Hadith is a proof that Saturday can be fasted with the condition that Friday is fasted before it – so the Hadith forbidding the Saturday fast is not absolute in forbiddance.

Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin (rahimahullah) stated:

“It is known that fasting on a Saturday has different scenarios:

1. That which is obligatory like that of Ramadan, so he fasts – or it is making up of an obligatory fast or an expiation, or in replacement for the one who did not sacrifice whilst at Hajj (At-Tamattu). So in this there is no harm, so long as he does not single it out with fasting believing it to be [more] virtuous.

2. That he fasts the day before it, Friday, then there is no harm in that. This is because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to one of the Mothers of the Believers who fasted on a Friday: “Did you fast yesterday?” She said: “No.” He said: “Are you going to fast tomorrow (i.e. Saturday)?” She said: “No.” So he said: “Then break your fast.” [Bukhari] So his saying, “Are you going to fast tomorrow?” proves the permissibility of fasting Saturday along with Friday.

3. That the legislated fast happens to coincide with Saturday, such as the middle of month recommended fasts, or the day of Arafah, or the day of Ashurah, or the six days of Shawwal for the one who fasted Ramadan, or the nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, then there is no harm in fasting on Saturday because one is not fasting it because it is a Saturday, rather he fasts because it is legislated to fast on these occasions.

4. That fasting on a Saturday happens to coincide with one’s habit such as the one who fasts one day and leaves off fasting the next day [and so on] – so the day he is fasting happens to coincide with a Saturday – in this case there is no harm. This is like the saying of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in forbidding fasting a day or two days just prior to Ramadan except for the one who is in the habit of fasting. [Bukhari] So here there is no forbiddance, so this case is similar.

5. That a person singles out Saturday alone for the optional fast, then this is forbidden, if it is assumed that the Hadith of forbiddance of fasting on a Saturday is authentic.”

[See Majmu’ Fatawa of Ibn Al-Uthaimin, Volume 20, page 57-58 – slightly adapted to assist ease of understanding]

Shaykh Ibn Uthaimin also stated:

“It is established from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in speech and action that fasting on a Saturday is not forbidden. The Scholars differ with respect to the Hadith that forbids fasting on Saturday as to whether it is acted upon. From them are those who say that it is not to be acted upon at all, and there is no harm in fasting on a Saturday, whether it be on its own or not on its own because the Hadith is not authentic. And a regulation cannot be established from a Hadith which is not authentic. From them are those who have said the Hadith is Sahih or Hasan, and they said: The reconciliation between this Hadith [that forbids fasting on a Saturday] and the other Hadiths [that allow fasting on a Saturday], is that it is forbidden to single out Saturday on its own – meaning that Saturday is singled out without Friday or Sunday. This was the position of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah), wherein he said: “If one fasts alongside Saturday another day, then there is no harm, such as fasting with it Friday or Sunday.” We, likewise say: If Saturday coincides with a day upon which it is legislated to fast such as Arafah, or the 10th of Muharram (Ashurah), then it is not disliked (or forbidden) to fast it, because the dislike is when you fast it because it is a Saturday, i.e. that you have singled it out believing it is more special than other days. Indeed I have heard that when some of the people fast on the ninth and tenth of Muharram (Ashurah) or the Day of Arafah and one of those days happens to be a Saturday, some of the brothers forbid them and command them to break the fast – this is wrong and it is upon this brother to ask (the scholars) before issuing a verdict (Fatwa) without knowledge.”

[See also Majmu’ Fatawa of Ibn Al-Uthaimin, volume 20, page 37]

Respected servants of Allah! Concerning cutting the nails and trimming the hair, all the Hadiths which have been mentioned about this issue are all authentic, however, there are varying opinions held by the great Imams/Mujtahids regarding the ruling established from these Hadiths. Some Imams like Imam Ahmad and Ishaq have stated that it is prohibited (Haram) for a person who intends to do the sacrifice (Layyah) to trim the hair or pare the nails etc. when the month of Dhul-Hijjah begins. Other Imams of Fiqh like Imam Shafi’i and his companions have stated that it is Makruh (highly disliked) to do such, but it is not prohibited (Haram). Imam Abu Hanifah, and Imam Malik in one opinion, state that it is not Makruh to trim the hair, nails etc. during this time for the person who intends to do sacrifice (Layyah). Their proof for saying that it is not prohibited (Haram) or Makruh (disliked) to do this, is the Hadith of Aisha (RA) in which she states:

“I used to twist/plait the necklace of the sacrificial animal of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). He would then tie the necklace (around the neck of the animal) and send it to be sacrificed, and nothing would be Haram upon him which Allah has made Halal, until he slaughtered his animal.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Based on this Hadith, it is evident that it would not be prohibited (Haram) to pare the nails or trim the hair (for one who intends to do a Sacrifice). However, based on the Hadith narrated by Umm Salmah (RA), the majority of Scholars/Jurist experts (Fuqaha) have it to be Mustahab/Sunnah for one who intends to do a Sacrifice (Layyah) to refrain from trimming the hair, nails etc from the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah until he sacrifices his animal.

For more explanations check the Sharh of Sahih Muslim by Imam An-Nawawi and Al-Fiqh Al-Islami Wa Adillatahu, Volume 4 Page 2,735.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com; or +2348038289761.

This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was prepared for delivery today Friday, 08 Dhul-Hijjah, 1445 AH (June 14, 2024).

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Opinion

Hajiya Rakiya: The Predicament of ICT Guru at CBN

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By Yushau A. Shuaib

Upon completing the routine security check, we ascended to the impressive Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) complex in Abuja. Led to a spacious yet modest hall where an event was unfolding, we found seats beside a woman modestly dressed in a Muslim Hijab. She greeted us warmly and invited us to sit beside her. Her humility and warmth immediately put us at ease.

We initially assumed she was a guest or another participant at the briefing. However, as we discussed the media industry, she listened intently, nodding in agreement. When she finally spoke, her insightful comments on disruptive technologies and their impact on the communication industry left us in awe. Her deep knowledge spanned online streaming services, virtual events, and redefining audience engagement through innovation, leaving us with a profound respect for her expertise.

She elaborated on how blockchain, 5G networks, and artificial intelligence facilitate secure, faster connectivity and interactive experiences with enhanced royalty management. Beyond aiding in content generation and personalisation, she noted media production is becoming increasingly democratised. Moreover, she ‘schooled’ us on the latest technological tools for fact-checking, cybersecurity, and digital journalism—all without a trace of arrogance or pomposity.

As the event concluded, we offered our printed business cards. In response, she shared her digital business card. Scanning the QR code revealed her identity: Hajia Rakiya Shuaibu Mohammed, the Director of Information Technology at the Central Bank of Nigeria. This position speaks volumes about her expertise and influence in the field.

Curiosity drove me to search for her profile upon leaving. What I uncovered was astounding. Despite not being a celebrity tech expert paraded on social media or television, she is an extraordinary IT specialist. Former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele described her as such, having promoted her from Head of Information Security Management after a rigorous selection process.

In his remarks at the eNaira Hackathon Grand Finale in Abuja in 2022, Emefiele, the then CBN Governor, credited the success of Africa’s first central bank digital currency partly to Hajiya Rakiya. He admitted to underestimating her suitability for the Director of Information Technology position, initially preferring a male candidate. He said, “I must single her out. When she was considered for the director role, I initially doubted. I was thinking.. I’m Sorry, ladies, please forgive me. I said a lady IT Director. I went back and began to read her CV. She is a First-Class computer science graduate, a brilliant erudite lady from Northern Nigeria, and a chartered accountant. I said you could not have a better person as head of IT for Central Bank of Nigeria.”

Her academic and professional accolades are extensive. Rakiya was the Head Girl of the Federal Government Girl College, Bakori, and the Best Graduating Student in 1982. She obtained a First-Class degree in Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in 1987, followed by a Master’s degree in Information Systems Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in 1994. She has also attended executive education programs at Harvard University and Oxford University.

Rakiya’s professional journey spans over 25 years across the financial, telecommunications, and technology sectors. Before her promotion to IT Director at the CBN, where she spearheaded and implemented the Industry Security Operation Centre (NFICERT) and Africa’s first Digital Currency, Rakiya had headed the System Services and Information Security Management (CISO) Division of the bank, where she modernised the IT infrastructure and introduced innovative solutions like video conferencing. She had developed and implemented robust information security strategies, maintaining ISO 27001 certification and ensuring zero major security incidents.
Previously, she was Head of Strategy and IT at Galaxy Backbone Plc (2009-2011), CIO at Premium Pension Limited (2005-2008), Deputy General Manager (IT) and CIO of NITEL (2003-2005), and Head of Branch Banking Systems in the Northern Region of Continental Merchant Bank (1988-1995).

She holds numerous certifications, including Lean Process Practitioner, Certified IT Business Manager, Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO), Certified Enterprise and Solution Architect, Certified IT Governance Professional (COBIT, CGEIT), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Chartered Accountant (ICAN) and Honorary member of the Certified Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

On May 16, 2024, she made an outstanding presentation to the CBN board on maximising the utility of current IT facilities. However, a week later, despite her impressive background, certifications, and contributions to the bank, Rakiya has become one of the victims of an inexplicable spate of officers retrenched by the current CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso.

Here is a woman who has contributed immensely by ensuring increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved security in various organisations she had worked for and could just be retired due to political exigency.

It is perplexing to understand the rationale behind retrenching such highly qualified and integral personnel among several others in that bank, especially considering the ongoing appointments of external consultants. If retaining and promoting the best within the service is not prioritised, what justifies these replacements with outsiders?

Yushau A. Shuaib is the author of “Award Winning Crisis Communication Strategies.” yashuaib@yashuaib.com

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Opinion

Prioritizing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship: Why Nigerians must shift from white collar jobs

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Yusha’u Hamza Kafinchiri

 

As Nigeria continues to grapple with the challenges of unemployment, poverty and economic stagnation, it is imperative that citizens shift their focus towards a proven model of success – skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
China’s remarkable economic transformation serves as a shining example of what can be achieved through a concerted effort to develop vocational skills and encourage entrepreneurial spirit. With a population of over 200 million Nigeria is a thriving market to accommodate it’s talent’s productivity.

For too long, Nigeria has been plagued by a culture of white-collar job seekers, relying on government employment and certificates rather than skills and innovation. This mindset has perpetuated laziness, mediocrity and a lack of innovation. It is time for an active paradigm shift. Governments at all levels must work truthfully on this model leveraging on the power of education and training in producing producers of good and services.

By prioritizing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, Nigerians can:

-Develop practical skills in various trades, such as technology, manufacturing, and services to remain independent
-Create jobs and stimulate economic growth through innovation and entrepreneurship
-Reduce reliance on government employment and break free from the shackles of white-collar mentality currently wrecking havoc on government efforts to hold to it’s services.
-Increase productivity and competitiveness, driving economic progress at all levels of learning.

Let Nigerians learn from China’s example and strive to build on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, as the drivers of their own destiny and the architects of a prosperous Nigeria.
Let the mindset of Nigerians change for good.

 

Kafinchiri,  is a Director monitoring and evaluation, Ministry of Education, Kano State. 

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